Karnataka: BJP’s outreach among Christians a challenge for Congress

BJP’s outreach to Christians poses challenges for Congress in minority vote consolidation, with discontent among some Christians over perceived favoritism towards Muslims, affecting candidate selections and potential support shifts. BENGALURU: A recent BJP outreach among a section of the Christian community, which is said to be disenchanted with Congress, has left the governing party scrambling to consolidate minority votes ahead of Lok Sabha polls.
By positioning itself as a pro-minority party, Congress expects to secure a majority of Muslim and Christian community votes. But mounting discontent among some Christians over policies that “disproportionately favour Muslims” — which has left some Christians feeling neglected — is proving a problem for Congress.
This challenge is particularly pronounced in segments like Dakshina Kannada, Bidar, and Shimoga, besides Bangalore Central and North where Christian votes hold substantial sway. Further complicating matters for Congress, Christian leader A Bartholomew, former general secretary of KPCC’s minority wing, has announced his candidacy as an independent from Bangalore Central. This, after Congress picked Mansoor Ali Khan as its choice. “Congress gave the Bangalore Central ticket twice to a Muslim — in 2014 and 2019,” said Bartholomew. “The last time a candidate from the Christian community was given an opportunity was HT Sangliana in 2009. Congress should have considered a Christian this time. I have deci Nivedith Alva (Kumta). Of them, only George won.
BJP is reaching out to Christians, highlighting Congress’ perceived “favouritism” to Muslims. Recently, BJP formed a 20-member team in each district to consolidate Christian support. “We are currently conducting meetings at the taluk-level, and the response we have been receiving from Christians is encouraging,” said Anil Thomas, president, BJP Minority Morcha.
Muzamil Ahmed Babu, a member of BJP’s campaign committee for southern states, said the Karnataka unit will organise a roadshow featuring Anil Antony, son of Congress veteran AK Antony, who is contesting as a BJP candidate from Pathanamthitta in Kerala.
Congress, in response, is initiating damage control measures. “There will be more opportunities for Christians in elections to the legislative council and Rajya Sabha. They will remain loyal to Congress,” said Rizwan Arshad, MLA from Shivajinagar and vice-chairman of KPCC’s campaign committee.ded to contest as a rebel in protest.” Congress reportedly picked a minority candidate due to the significant presence of Muslims (14.5%) and Christians (6%). Christian representatives point out that their community voters hold sway in assembly segments like Sarvagnanagar (9%), Shanthinagar (9%), Shivajinagar (5%), and CV Raman Nagar (4.5%).
Some Christians are also unhappy with ticket allocation during last year’s assembly elections. Congress nominated three Christians: KJ George (Sarvagnanagar), John Richard Lobo (Mangalore City South), and

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